Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


The End?

John Barth

‘What do you do when your daily routine comes to a halt, when your latest achievement just might be your last?’

Revolution Revived: Egyptian Diary

Wiam El-Tamami

‘This is what they don’t tell you on the news – about the pockets of normalcy that always exist, persist.’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

‘They’re the interchangeable anonymous people we encounter on our daily commute, those whose humanity we cannot acknowledge.’

The Plano Suicides

Stefan Merrill Block

‘My parents moved us to Plano for the reasons so many move to Plano: jobs, good schools, a town perfectly engineered to render successful families.’

José Saramago: a celebration

Margaret Jull Costa

‘It is hard to think of a more imaginative novelist, one whose books are so full of humour and humanity and invention.’

Your Birthday Has Come and Gone

Paul Auster

‘For the first time in all the years you had known her, she sounded deranged.’

The Mission

Tom Bamforth

‘It is strange, the rituals we find ourselves carrying out before the unknown.’

The Ground Floor

Daniel Alarcón

‘I met Darin Rossi standing in a thick, gooey pool of fake blood, on an early-December night in Los Angeles.’


Mark Doty

‘Behind every man I want to kiss lies that original desire, which it is my nature and my fate to displace.’

Necessary Daemons

Madison Smartt Bell

‘I have claimed, on suitable occasions, that my work is dictated to me by daemons, being careful to include that extra ‘a,’ so that the daemons I’m invoking may seem at least morally neutral, not out and out evil as single ‘e’ demons are mostly considered to be.’

The Last Days of the Thunderbird

Stefan Merrill Block

‘The only upside of my fresh heartbreak: I’m an adult now! My pain is private adult pain!’

Undoing the folded lie: Poetry after 9/11

Rachael Allen

‘The real feeling of a day that changed everything forever is boiled down so incessantly, and so often, to cliché.’

The Heartland: Ten Years After 9/11

Frank Bill

‘‘You think 9/11 changed that, how crimes are committed?’ ‘9/11 changed how Americans live. Period.’’

Jongwe, the cockerel of liberation

Kevin Bloom

‘There’s nothing of interest at ground level, no great revelations. Just the rooster keeping watch in the sky; jongwe, the cockerel of the liberation movement.’

Two Minutes Too Long

Urvashi Butalia

‘What did our government mean by asking us to mourn for these deaths in America?’

Abbottabad Pastoral

Humera Afridi

‘Until now, I had never experienced a disaster, or witnessed mass suffering and death close up.’

War’s Body

Rikki Ducornet

‘Born of genocide and slavery, our democracy staggers beneath a failure to acknowledge and address its own defining brutal impulse.’

The Other 9/11

Ariel Dorfman

‘Chile, for all its imperfections and failures, found a way of responding to the terror inflicted on us (yes, us, we Chileans), a path of peace rather than war, a path of understanding rather than retribution.’

Letters to Omar

Edmund Clark

‘His mail became part of the control process his interrogators exercised.’

Resist: A Letter from Greece

Natalie Bakopoulos

‘This June, I arrived in Athens just in time for a strike that had halted the metro from the airport to the city.’

The Gadulka is Burning

Rayko Baychev

‘If they tell you there’s no instrument more thankless than the gadulka, you better believe it.’

Letter from Greece

Meaghan Delahunt

‘The only thing between Greece and total collapse is the Greek family.’

Marriage Lessons from My Turkish Grandmother

Sevil Delin

‘The stories my grandmother, my anneanne, told me when I was a child are anything but children’s stories. They are folktales that have a common theme – the triumph of wily wives over evil husbands (jealous, repressive skinflints) through crafty subterfuge.’

A Revolution of Equals

Lana Asfour

‘Women have rights and we’re not going to lose them now.’

According to Your Will

Naomi Alderman

‘Thank you, God,’ said the boys, ‘for not making me a woman.’ ‘Thank you, God,’ said the girls, ‘for making me according to Your will.’


Rachel Cusk

‘The gears of life had gone into reverse.’

No Grls Alod. Insept Mom.*

A.S. Byatt

‘I already had a horror of being defined as a wife.’

A Kept Woman

Laura Bell

‘I find myself walking the high trail between fear and love.’

Bad Women, Good Feminists?

Damian Barr

‘I was told I was not a feminist and never could be, because I was a man.’

To the Lighthouse

Helen Dunmore

‘There are novels which have an almost uncanny power to renew themselves in the reader’s imagination.’

Mona’s Story

Urvashi Butalia

‘I’m a woman, I’ve always wanted to be one, it’s that simple.’

Introducing Andrés Neuman

Roberto Bolaño

‘When I come across these young writers it makes me want to cry.’

Memoirs of an Anonymous Phone Sex Worker


‘Even though Madame Katherine became dangerous given a few ice cubes and I now knew 101 ways to delight using rubber bands, the novelty of my job didn’t take long to wear off.’

Where to Begin

Nadeem Aslam

‘Pages five, six and seven make her into a Pakistani, but for the first four pages she is nothing but a human being.’

Road to Chitral

Azhar Abidi

‘I wonder sometimes when this cycle of violence began. When was year zero?’

Mangho Pir

Fatima Bhutto

‘Although they lived in the shadows, they refused to go unnoticed.’